Le Pen on Benzema: "Let him go and play for Algeria..."
The Front National politician attacked the Real Madrid forward after his comments accusing Didier Deschamps of racism over Euro omission.
Words attributed to Karim Benzema regarding the position of France manager Didier Deschamps when selecting his squad for Euro 2016 have sparked a war of words. The Real Madrid forward opined an in interview that Deschamps “has bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” in not selecting Benzema for the tournament.
Benzema’s comments echoed those of former France player Eric Cantona, who suggested recently that Deschamps has not picked Benzema and Nice midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa because they have North African heritage.
On Thursday Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a French Front national MP and granddaughter of the far right party’s founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, used social media to attack Benzema. “Algeria is my country. France is just where I play sport,” she wrote, apparently referring to comments made by Benzema in the past. “If he’s not happy here let him go and play for his country!” Le Pen added.
Former France defender Lilian Thuram has also criticized Benzema, accusing him of not showing the necessary devotion to Les Bleus and reminding the forward why he wasn’t called up: “When you’re an important player, you have to lead by example. When he said he loves the France national team I got the impression that he loves it in a bad way. His words are irresponsible. He is forgetting that he was left out because of the Valbuena video. That’s where it all started.”
Benzema was placed under investigation by the French judiciary last year on suspicion of participating in a case of attempted blackmail against France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, who was also omitted from the squad. France Football Federation president Noël le Graët said the decision to omit Benzema had been based on team harmony.
Deschamps has refused to answer Benzema’s accusation, but his lawyers have launched legal proceedings against Cantona for slander.